Rhode Island Secretary of State
The department of state, with the secretary of state as its head, is established in the Rhode Island Constitution and Section 42-8-1 of the Rhode Island general laws.
|There shall be a department of state. The head of the department of state shall be the secretary of state. The secretary of state shall perform the duties required by this chapter and by chapter 2 of title 6; chapters 1 to 4, inclusive, of title 7; chapters 16, 19, and 20 of title 17; chapters 3 and 10 of title 22; chapters 1 to 3 and 4, of title 29; chapter 1 of title 36; chapter 7 of title 37; chapter 30 of this title; chapters 1 and 2 of title 43; chapter 6 of title 44; and any and all other provisions of the general laws and public laws insofar as such powers and duties relate to the secretary of state and the department of state.|
According to the Rhode Island Secretary of State, "if you are a registered voter who is 18 years of age or older, you may run for any political office in Rhode Island other than senator in Congress."
- at least 18 years old
- a registered voter
Article IV, Section 1 of the state constitution specifies that the offices of state constitution, no person may hold the office of governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and treasurer are to be elected every 4 years during the November general election and shall hold their offices beginning the first Tuesday of January next succeeding their election, until their successors are elected and qualified. The offices are elected in mid-term election years (2010, 2014, 2018, et cetera).
According to Article IV, Section 1 of the state constitution, no person may hold the office of governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, or treasurer for more than 2 consecutive four-year terms.
Article IV, Section 4 of the state constitution addresses vacancies. In the event of a vacancy in the office of secretary of state, attorney general, or treasurer, the Rhode Island General Assembly elects a successor to fill the remainder of the unexpired term. If the vacancy occurs when the general assembly is not in session, the governor appoints a person to fill the vacancy to serve until a successor is elected by the general assembly.
The office of the secretary of state is composed of five separate divisions:
- The Elections and Civics Division prepares ballots, ensures accessibility of voting facilities, qualifies and certifies the names of all federal and state candidates for ballot placement, maintains a database of registered voters, and ensures compliance with the Help America Vote Act. Administration of elections and compliance with campaign finance laws is the responsibility of a separate state agency, the Rhode Island Board of Elections.
- The Corporations Division is responsible for a wide range of business-related legal documents and filings, including formation of corporations and other business entities, liens and security interests under the Uniform Commercial Code, registration of notaries public, apostilles, trademarks and service marks, registration of businesses conducting games of chance, and various other documents required by state law.
- The Public Information Division accepts many filings required to be made with secretary of state, including Lobbying Disclosures, Public Meeting Notices and Minutes, Disclosure of State Government Consultants and Appointments to Boards and Commissions, and other government information. This division also publishes the Rhode Island Government Owner's Manual, which gives a broad overview of various government offices and officials.
- The Rhode Island State Archives is the official custodian and trustee for public records of permanent historical value.
- The Rhode Island State Library was created in 1852 by a General Assembly resolution as part of the office of the secretary of state. Its purpose is to assist members of the Rhode Island General Assembly with research on the preparation of proposed legislation. The State Library also includes a law library.
- See also: Compensation of state executive officers
Secretary of State
82 Smith Street
State House Room 217
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 222-2357
Toll Free Phone: 711
Fax: (401) 222-1356
Click "show" for former officeholders.
|Former Rhode Island Secretaries of State|
|Henry Bowen, of Providence||1843 - 1849|
|Christopher E. Robbins, of Providence||1849 - 1851|
|Asa Potter, of South Kingstown||1851 - 1854|
|William R. Watson, of Providence||1844 - 1855|
|John R. Bartlett, of Providence||1855 - 1872|
|Joshua M. Addeman, of Providence||1872 - 1887|
|Edwin D. McGuiness, of Providence||1887 - 1888|
|Samuel H. Cross, of Westerly||1888 - 1890|
|Edwin D. McGuiness, of Providence||1890 - 1891|
|George D. Utter, of Westerly||1891 - 1894|
|4 Charles P. Bennett, of Providence||1894 - 1909||Republican|
|5 J. Fred Parker, of Providence||1909 - 1924||Republican|
|6 Ernest L. Sprague, of Cranston||1924 - 1933||Republican|
|Louis W. Cappelli, of Providence||1933 - 1939||Democratic|
|J. Hector Paquin, of Woonsocket||1939 - 1941||Republican|
|7 Armand H. Cote, of Pawtucket||1941 - 1957||Democratic|
|John A. Notte, Jr., of Providence||1957 - 1959||Democratic|
|August P. LaFrance, of Pawtucket||1959 - 1973||Democratic|
|Robert F. Burns, of Pawtucket||1973 - 1983||Democratic|
|8 Susan L. Farmer, of Providence||1983 - 1987||Republican|
|9 Kathleen S. Connell, of Middletown||1987 - 1993||Democratic|
|Barbara M. Leonard, of Providence||1993 - 1995||Republican|
|10 James R. Langevin, of Warwick||1995 - 2001||Democratic|
|11 Edward S. Inman, of Coventry||2001 - 2003||Democratic|
|Matthew A. Brown, of Providence||2003 - 2007||Democratic|
|A. Ralph Mollis, of North Providence||2007 - Present||Democratic|
- Ralph Mollis, Rhode Island Secretary of State
- Governor of Rhode Island
- Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island
- Attorney General of Rhode Island
- Rhode Island Constitution